When modifying your website to implement SEO, you might be concerned about how you’ll compare up against some of the major brands out there. You might think that you have no chance at all of competing. However, this isn’t the case. You see, if a major brand makes numerous search engine optimization mistakes on its website, it will be penalized. Yes, just like every other website out there.
A lot of people used to think (and still think) that Google treats major brands differently that everyone else. The thinking is that since these brands already have national visibility, it doesn’t matter if they optimize their websites properly or not. They will be listed first in the search engine results for their industry because they are popular.
Just recently at SMX West, Matt Cutts was asked some specific questions about this very topic. Someone asked why major brands can spam like crazy and get away with it? Cutts’ answer? He said that all major brands are penalized by the search engine all the time, it’s just not so obvious because they don’t go around announcing this fact to the world. These big companies are likely embarrassed by their penalization so they don’t make mention of it or even seek assistance to fix it. It’s just not good publicity.
It’s rather interesting because if you search for a product, a major brand in that industry is almost always likely to show up at the top of the search results. However, it’s hard to test for penalties unless you watch the same search results daily over several weeks and note placement changes.
SEO is a lot trickier than people think and a lot of the time, major brands don’t invest in this area because they think they can get by on name recognition alone. Because they don’t hire dedicated people to this task, they kind of just guess at it and likely use very outdated practices to optimize their sites. This results in ineffective SEO at best and terrible optimization at worst that punishes your site rather than helps it. It’s feasible that many major brands fall into this latter category, and what’s sad, is they have the resources to change this and actually optimize their sites properly.
In any case, it ought to be refreshing to hear from Mr. Cutts himself that big companies have to play by the same rules as everyone else.
Picture credit: searchmarketingexpo.com